Much research on memory for binding depends on incidental measures. However, if encoding associations benefits from conscious attention, then incidental measures of binding memory might not yield a sufficient understanding of how binding is accomplished. Memory for letters and spatial locations was compared in three within-participants tasks, one in which binding was not afforded by stimulus presentation, one in which incidental binding was possible, and one in which binding was explicitly to be remembered. Some evidence for incidental binding was observed, but unique benefits of explicit binding instructions included preserved discrimination as set size increased and drastic reduction in false alarms to lures that included a new spatial location and an old letter. This suggests that substantial cognitive benefits, including enhanced memory for features themselves, might occur through intentional binding, and that incidental measures of binding might not reflect these advantages. (C) 2011 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
- Working memory